Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Wearin' O' the Green

Hello, Dear Friends, can you believe it is already March?
Here in Washington State, we are having
clear, but cold weather, with a mournful wind
that kicks up as the sun sets,
reminding us that Old Man Winter is in no hurry
to pack his bags and head south.

Soon, it will be spring, (I keep telling myself)
so to celebrate the coming change in seasons
and to honor my Irish roots for St. Patrick's Day,
I have given my kitchen a happy little make-over. 
A bit of Wearin' O' the Green!

I've unpacked my green depression glass
and a few other sweet treasures,
in anticipation of spring. 
And shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day.
The teacup and saucer were a recent birthday gift
from a dear one. 

Vintage potholders and green canning jars
always make me smile :)
I found the needlework, years ago,
at a flea market with my dear Mom.
I miss those happy times together, but the
message reminds me to bless each new day.


I have a collection of vintage aprons in different colors
to match my many decorating moods.
This one has sweet embroidery on the pockets
and hemline and hangs on my pantry door,
waiting for the next baking session. 
Speaking of baking.....I was
mixing some streusel for an apple cake,
when all of a sudden, I heard a loud 'Pop!'
and the streusel went flying!
 The pastry blender broke!
The dogs and I played duck and cover.....
I've never found the little bolt
that popped off, but I did hear it hit the wall. 
Things like that always seem to happen to me :)



I sewed a sweet curtain for my kitchen window
 out of 3 dish towels and some rick-rack. 

I found these shamrock mugs last year.


I have four - two for each side of my shelves. 

The stove shelves are Wearin' the Green, too.
The potholders and green teapot were
gifts from dear loved ones.
I found the green enamel refrigerator dishes
years ago. The sweet painting was a flea-market find. 




The vintage potholder/doily has crocheted
flowers all around.
So much work went into this humble
little kitchen accessory!
I love the Art Nouveau style of the vase
that I found at a flea market two years ago.
xx


My painted and stenciled kitchen cart
shows off Depression era bowls
and a flour sifter.
If only they could talk.......
My parents were born during the Great Depression
 and told me amazing stories
of how they all survived.
Their struggles, and those of my Irish/Scots
ancestors, endear them to my heart.
I appreciate the sacrifices and obstacles
they had to overcome to give
their children and descendants a
better life.
Now that I am older and have studied the
history of my Scots/Irish ancestors, I realize how many
hurdles they had to overcome.




I made some pillows for my kitchen daybed
 to match my kitchen window.
Dish toweling is so nice to work with.
It's already hemmed and the fabric has a
nice, homespun weave.
I found the 'Irish Crochet' pillows at my
favorite thrifty store. 

A sweet Irish scene.


A thrift store 'painting' and flowers in a
vintage coffee can bring in the green.
The doily is a pot-holder :)





My captured gnome waits for spring
on my green enamel-top table.
I keep a basket for my garden gloves,
twine and clippers, here by the door
to the deck.
The sweet garden theme tea-towels were
a gift from a dear friend who is also the co-grandmother
of our 3 little grandsons. 
Printed are 'Tools of the trade', 'Going out shoes'
and 'Plants are my buds' :)
xx


Kai waits for me to come outside.
The day warms up nicely in the sunshine,
but as soon as the sun sets, it becomes
frigid once more.


Whitey prefers the comfort of his cushy bed.
(Which you can't see under all his thick fur!
He likes to sleep with his head hanging off :)
He's my sweet old boy.




I set up an impromptu potting station
and planted some 'glacier' pansies
in painted clay pots.
I used exterior porch paint on the pots,
and they have weathered through a couple of years
so far. I put them on a plant stand
that I can see from my living room. 



The sunsets have been beautiful on 
sherbet covered Mt. Rainier. 

Sunshine is a rare commodity here in 
the Pacific Northwest this time of year, 
so I am enjoying every sunny day. 


Today I am sharing with:
Let's Add Sprinkles: Keep in Touch

Keep In Touch Tuesday LInk Party

Thank you for visiting, Dear Friends. 
I always enjoy your company. 
And thank you so much for your wonderful,
interesting comments on my last post. 
I so wish we could all gather together 
with our books over a nice cup of tea. 
We are all certainly kindred spirits. 
xoxo

Wearin' O' the Green


O Paddy dear, and did ye hear the news that's goin' round?
The shamrock is by law forbid to grow on Irish ground!
No more Saint Patrick's Day we'll keep, his color can't be seen
For there's a cruel law ag'in the Wearin' o' the Green."
I met with Napper Tandy, and he took me by the hand
And he said, "How's poor old Ireland, and how does she stand?"
"She's the most distressful country that ever yet was seen
For they're hanging men and women there for the Wearin' o' the Green."
"So if the color we must wear be England's cruel red
Let it remind us of the blood that Irishmen have shed
And pull the shamrock from your hat, and throw it on the sod
But never fear, 'twill take root there, though underfoot 'tis trod.
When laws can stop the blades of grass from growin' as they grow
And when the leaves in summer-time their color dare not show
Then I will change the color too I wear in my caubeen
But till that day, please God, I'll stick to the Wearin' o' the Green.




Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Super Snow Moon, Flowers, Books, and Apple Muffins



Hello, Dear Friends, I hope that you are weathering 
the storms of life and hanging on to the hope of spring. 

The heavens have been illuminated by our recent
Super Snow Moon - an amazing sight in this beautiful world.
I took this photo with my 6 year old Nikon Coolpix P520. 




We had another dusting of snow yesterday morning
to sugar coat my world. 



I was feeling hopeful that the snow was finally gone, 
and brought home these sweet little blooms 
to plant in this tub.
Ramblin' Man drilled drainage holes for me.  

A hellebore and mini-daffodils. 
Hope springs eternal :)

I think I shall be so grateful once warmer 
temperatures arrive and I can play outside in the dirt once more. 


Ramblin' Man has been cheering me up with 
lovely discussions of future plans.......
a camping trailer, finishing the loft remodel, 
building a workshop and an old window greenhouse. 

Sometimes I get impatient, but I know how busy 
life is. He has a demanding job, overseeing 9 
district managers and 180 distributors in 
a territory that includes all of the Pacific Northwest 
and Alaska.

I am very proud of him, but I must be very independent 
and self-sufficient, as his work takes him away 
for many hours and often, many miles.


I keep the home fires burning.....



Coffee keeps me going during these cold 
winter days. I admit, I drink too much caffeine. 
I am working on that......

I just ordered a book on making herbal teas.
I am very interested in herbs and how to grow and use
them in cooking, health and beauty. 

Most of my library, including all of my herbal and gardening books,
 are in storage right now, waiting for the remodeling to be done. 
We are turning the master bedroom into a library
and the loft will be our bedroom. 

I get frustrated sometimes, because progress is so slow. 

This long winter is not helping. 
I've been trying to get interested in a decorating or craft 
project, but I am not inspired. 
I am in a bit of a funk. 

I did order a few new books that might entice me 
to forget my frustrations......
Some wonderful memoirs. I love memoirs. 
Especially written by women. 
I love books about pioneer women.
I found several. 
Building our home on raw land, 
here on the edge of the wilderness,
gives me new perspective on the trials 
and tribulations of our early pioneers. 
I think women have been largely forgotten in history, 
unless they were royals, famous, married
to famous men, or somehow notorious.

I ordered the books from https://www.hamiltonbook.com/books

They offer discount books and very affordable shipping.


This book is a favorite memoir - not exactly pioneers,
but the memoir of two young women in 1908 who accepted
Indian Service appointments as field matrons for the Karok
Indians in northern California for two years.
Wonderfully written, and full of adventure, fun and a good
dose of brevity for the challenges they faced, they write;
"In the sixty-mile stretch between Happy Camp and Orleans,
we were the only white women, and most of the time quite
scared enough to satisfy anybody."
Written in 1957 by Mary Ellicott Arnold, it gives the reader
a compassionate glimpse into the life
 of our native peoples and the courage
and bravery it took to navigate that world.



These are more modern memoirs that I highly recommend.
Heather Lende  writes from Haines, Alaska
and I love her books. She also wrote for 'Woman's Day' Magazine
in 2012. Her writing inspired me to become
a reader columnist, that same year, for my regional newspaper,
'The Tacoma News Tribune'. I wrote a monthly
column about life here 'on the edge'.

'Call the Nurse' and 'Nurse, Come you Here',
are wonderful memoirs about a woman
who moved with her family to a Scottish Isle
and found herself reluctantly (at first) enlisted as the region's only nurse.
Both of these books are written with warmth, humor and compassion
for the people in their small communities.


This memoir takes place in my neck of the woods, 
Washington state. I am almost done with it. 
It's about a forgotten young man who was abandoned 
by his family, but had a strong desire to succeed in life.
He worked his way into the University of Washington
and was recruited for the rowing team. 
It's a story of resilience in the face of daunting adversity.
And of course, there is a sweet love story as the backdrop, too.  
It was recently made into a documentary. 


This is my next memoir to read while I wait for my new books.
I am in love with all things Italian, after my recent
visit to Rome and Tuscany.
My love affair actually started with the memoir,
 'Under the Tuscan Sun'
and just progressed from there.

I'll let you know how I like it.


I generally don't read too much fiction, although
if someone recommends something,
I am only too happy to read it,  
and I do love the classics. 
I inherited this beautiful, classic library from my parents. 


I love books.
I don't think you can have too many.
xx
Ramblin' Man indulges me, even though
he rarely has time to read, other than
books about managing business.
He does like how-to books, and has an ever-growing collection.
He built this house by reading books.
He had never built anything, other than a dog-house,
before he jumped right in to build this house
for his family.
Now that's devotion.
xx


I am truly interested in the human condition
and figuring out the psychology of how the world works.
Books satisfy that desire and curiosity.
I also read a daily newspaper.


There is not enough time to devote to all the subjects
I am interested in.
I think I need 2 - 3 more lifetimes........


Books are my windows to the world. 
I travel to far-away places, live many different lives, 
and learn anything my heart desires 
through the pages of a book. 


When I was a child, my favorite place was the library. 
Being shy and introverted, I was happiest when I 
could escape into another world.
If that world included horses and animals, 
I was in heaven, indeed.  

My (messy) living room bookshelf holds my childhood favorites. 


In high school I read 'How Green was my Valley', 
'Green Mansions', 'To Kill a Mockingbird', 
David Copperfield, Mark Twain, and even Shakespeare.  
We spent a whole semester reading, 'Romeo and Juliet'
and then going on a class trip into Boston to see 
the newly released 1968 Franco Zeffirelli movie
starring Leonard Whiting and Olivia Hussey. 
I had just started dating Ramblin' Man 
and he sat beside me, sweetly holding my hand. 
We imagined we were they, 
as my family was very much against our relationship 
because they thought we were too young.
All these years later, here we are. 


Later, I fell in love with James Herriot 
and his, 'All Creatures Great and Small' series. 
I read the 'Little House on the Prairie' series 
to my children, along with 'The Education of Little Tree', 
which made us all cry, 'Hatchet', and 'The Call of the Wild'.

Some other favorites of mine were, 'Gone With the Wind', 
'Jane Eyre', and 'Rebecca'. 

As a young mother I lived in a rural part of Oregon, 
far from the nearest library, but a book-mobile program 
allowed me to check off books from a mailed flyer
to be delivered to my door. 

The selection was limited, so I found myself reading 
things I might not have, otherwise. 

This book had a profound impact on my interpretation of the world, 
and led to a lifelong interest in books 
 written by people who have lived in 
parts of the world that do not have the freedoms we take 
so much for granted. 

Another excellent book I read was 'My Life with the Eskimo', 
written in 1913 by Vilhjalmur Stefansson. 

This book inspired my interest in other cultures, 
especially native peoples. 

I've read books written by slaves, native Americans, 
Holocaust survivors, and people who have survived 
all manner of trials and tribulations. 
It is these stories of shared humanity, resilience and hope, despite 
the travails and struggles of this sometimes, cruel and inhumane world, 
that inspires me so. 


While I wait for my books to arrive, 
I have been searching for some new, healthy recipes.
Cookbooks are another passion.  

I found these healthy, delicious muffins. 

Here is the recipe:

Apple Muffins

Makes 18 muffins. 
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. 

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 tart apples, peeled and chopped into small dice
(about 3 cups)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup natural applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Fill muffin pans 
with 18 paper liners. 


In small bowl, whisk together flours, baking soda, 
cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. 


In a separate small bowl, mix apple pieces with 1/4 cup 
of the brown sugar; set aside. 



In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and 
remaining 3/4 cup brown sugar together 
until creamed. Add eggs, one at a time, blending well. 
Add applesauce and vanilla extract and mix together. 


Alternately add flour mixture and buttermilk, a little at a time
and mix just until blended. Stir in apple pieces. 
At this point you can add a handful of raisins or walnuts.
Or both :) 

Fill 18 muffin cups. 



Bake 20 minutes. 


Cool 20 minutes......



Meanwhile, clean up and brew some tea. 


Pour the tea and add some butter to the warm muffin.



Enjoy! Preferably with a good book!

These muffins get better with age
(don't we all?)
due to the moisture of the apples.
They also freeze very well.

xx

"You can never get a cup of tea large enough
or a book long enough to suit me."
- C.S. Lewis -


I am very thankful for the freedoms we have in this country
and the voices and heroes that have
fought to make it so.

xx

What type of books do you like to read?
What are your favorite books?

xx

Today I am sharing with:

 Thankful Thursday
and
Keep in Touch

Won't you join the fun?








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